The Puerto Rican and Cuban actor opens up about being a dad of three, sharing his heritage with his kids, and offers his best "cheesy" dad joke.

By Damarys Ocaña Perez
June 09, 2021
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Adam Rodriguez
Credit: Donato Sardella/Getty Images

Known for his roles in Criminal Minds and Magic Mike, Adam Rodriguez is most at home playing papi to his three kids. The Puerto Rican and Cuban star opens up about fatherhood, sharing his heritage with his little ones, and his ideal summer plans.

When your wife, Grace, gave birth at home to your son, Bridgemont Bernard, last year, you caught him. What was that like?

It was the most wonderful moment. With the midwife's supervision, I literally got to usher him into this world. I honestly felt the same joy and awe at the home births of my daughters, Frankie Elle, 7, and Georgie Daye, 4, whom I didn't catch. To behold Grace harnessing all her strength to birth our children-that gave me a level of admiration that I didn't know was possible.

How did you come up with your son's name?

I know, it sounds grandiose, but that wasn't our intention. We loved Bridge, which signifies connection, and we added "mont" to honor my paternal grandfather, whose last name was Montalvo. And Bernard was the name of my mom's adoptive dad.

What's surprised you most about fatherhood?

It's the most challenging role I've ever had. But it has also elevated the love I have for everything and made me a better husband, friend, and actor. It's a gift. When I take an acting job, there's no doubt I'll put my heart into it. But when it comes to my family, as I always tell my wife, "it's going to take the rest of my life to show you and the kids how much I love you."

How do you teach your children to be proud of who they are?

My family is Puerto Rican and Cuban, my wife's family is white and Black, and our kids are all different shades. What I teach is that skin color is something you're born with, but what's most important is your character. And I encourage them to work hard and dream big so that they can help make change, big and small, in the world.

What about your heritage do you love sharing with your kids?

Oh man, there's so much-the food, the music, the art. But, especially, the warmth of our culture. I'm very fortunate to have so many loving relatives on both sides. We have our troubles like anyone else. But at the end of the day, we understand that nothing is more important than family, the people who always have your back-your best interests at heart. When we sit together at the dinner table, we're all just cracking jokes, laughing, and life is good.

Speaking of laughter, what's your best dad joke?

Want to hear my pizza joke?

Let's hear it.

No, no … it's too cheesy!

Adam Rodriguez Lives for Summer

Father's Day: Ideally I'll sleep till noon, eat breakfast in bed, and go through family albums with my kids.

Barbecues: I'm not "in charge" of anything at home! But I do handle grilling. Best tip: Get a digital thermometer. You'll never overcook meat again.

Road trips: Two summers ago, we drove up the coast of Oregon to Vancouver. My girls still talk about it. I can't wait to do it again.

Vacay time: I'm dreaming of taking my kids to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and all around the world.

This article originally appeared in Parents Latina's July 2021 issue as "Adam Rodriguez Is Embracing Fatherhood, Dad Jokes and All."

Parents Latina